A promise of unity

Daily Reading for January 9 • Julia Chester Emery, Missionary, 1922

This closing year has been rich with promise of what shall one day come. There was an Interchurch Movement which would gather into one common coffer the missionary treasures of “Protestants” of every name; there was the Lambeth Conference where the bishops of the Anglican Communion for the first time invited bishops of the Eastern Church to counsel with them in their committee meetings; there was a meeting called by the Commission on Faith and Order. In these gatherings there was hardly a question that excites and distracts the world today, that was not brought up and viewed in the light of Christian intelligence and conscience.

From the largest and most representative assemblies some were absent; the Church of Rome still persisted that she had no part to play in common with these fellow Christians. And yet, as in 1915, the “Catholic Extension Society” sent out a call to the “Catholic women of the United States” to emulate “the sincere and honest Protestant women” in this country by forming a Woman’s Auxiliary, so, in 1920 the unifying efforts of other bodies surely influenced action in the Church of Rome. While drawing her forces more closely together though continuing to refuse to confer with other Christian bodies, this open acknowledgement of the worth of their example may bring us one step nearer to a common appreciation of the good things to be found in Roman and non-Roman communions alike.

Meanwhile, the “Jew and the infidel,” “the Turk” and “the heretic,” still remembered in our Good Friday prayers, were not called to meet with the followers of Christ; the non-Christian was given no place in a Christian company. And yet as the centuries pass—so long a space with us, so brief with God—there surely is a growing sense of his Presence in all the earth, in every creature of his Hand; that he has not parted from his chosen people; that infidel and Turk and heretic, pagan and non-Christian his eye knows and sees, and some day he will gather all before his face.

From A Century of Endeavour: 1821–1921 by Julia C. Emery (New York: The Department of Missions, 1921).

Past Posts